Cabbage Leaf Tacos with Fresh Chopped Salsa

Cabbage Leaf Tacos with Fresh Chopped Salsa So here we are in August…coming up to the tidal wave that is tomato season. And you and everyone you know will be eating bruschetta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while I will be sitting in my kitchen trying not to resent you for my fresh basil allergy.

It’s really only bruschetta that gets me. I see the bright red tomatoes sitting on my counter, and I can actually almost hear them asking me to make them into bruschetta – the ultimate goal of every tomato out there.

I console myself with the knowledge that there are people out there whose bodies require them to live a life without cheese. Did you hear me? Cheese! And others, like my very own sister, who can no longer tolerate gluten and therefore can no longer have a simple piece of toast for breakfast…or her beloved cake batter ice cream.

Cabbage Leaf Tacos with Fresh Chopped Salsa

I get that. And so I turn to fresh oregano. And mint. And cilantro…the one herb in my life that can truly rival basil…almost. I mean cilantro is welcome on Mexican food, Indian food, Thai food – the three great loves of my life.


And so when our CSA box this week offered us tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, onions, and cilantro (among others), I immediately knew that some form of “taco” was in our future. Also in the box was savoy cabbage, so I put my gluten-free hat on and went ahead and used that tender cabbage in place of the tortilla.

Cabbage Leaf Tacos with Fresh Chopped Salsa

And the results? Hands-down the messiest meal we’ve ever eaten. I’m not gonna lie. The cabbage leaves didn’t quite hold in the taco-filling as well as your average tortilla. But the taste? Like summer punched you in the face in only the best of ways. The cabbage was slightly sweet, but crunchy! We filled it with the taco goodies mentioned above, plus raw sweet corn, cucumbers, and a rice and bean mixture to fill it out a little.

Cabbage Leaf Tacos - Salsa

These are the perfect little taco wraps to make ahead when your kids are napping to avoid that 5:30-rush on dinner when both kids are starting to lose it and dad is not home yet. Or is this just me? I prepped the ingredients for these tacos in the afternoon and just gave the rice and beans a slight reheat before dinner. They’re also pretty fabulous for lunch the next day…or breakfast. Don’t judge.

Cabbage-Leaf-Tacos with Fresh Chopped Salsa

Cabbage Leaf Tacos

Cabbage Leaf Tacos

(recipe by Carpé Season)

(yields 4 servings)


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups cooked brown rice (from 1 cup uncooked)

one 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 tablespoon chili powder*

1 teaspoon cumin*

1/4 teaspoon EACH garlic powder, oregano, paprika, black pepper*

salt to taste*

app. 4-8 whole leaves from a savoy or green cabbage

1 large or 2 small bell peppers, seeded, and thinly sliced

1/4 onion, thinly sliced

1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled & thinly sliced

1 cob corn, kernels removed

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup cotija cheese, grated (more to taste)

optional toppings: green onions, sour cream, avocado, or salsa (see recipe below!)


*Can replace all of these spices with 1 store-bought taco seasoning packet


1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add cooked rice, beans, lime juice, and the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, black pepper, and salt. Stir to combine, turn heat to low, and cook until warmed through (but not piping hot), stirring frequently.

2. Meanwhile, gently remove your cabbage leaves. Carefully cut away only the toughest part of the stem on each leaf - anything that would be hard to chew. I found myself cutting about an inch of stem out of each leaf.

3. Once rice/bean mixture is warm, fill your tacos. Lay out a cabbage leaf. Fill with rice/beans, peppers, onions, cucumber slices, corn, cilantro, and cheese (and any other desired toppings). Carefully begin to roll the cabbage the way it naturally curls, tucking in the sides as you go.

Fresh Chopped Salsa

Fresh Chopped Salsa

(recipe by Carpé Season)

(yields 1 1/2 cups)


1 large tomato, seeded and finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1/4 onion, finely chopped

1/2 jalapeno, seeded, and minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1/2 lime)

1 pinch grated lime zest (about 1/4 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

salt & pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients together gently about an hour before serving. If desired, after an hour, you could strain off excess liquid. Any leftovers will keep in a covered container in the fridge for 1 week.

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14 thoughts on “Cabbage Leaf Tacos with Fresh Chopped Salsa

  1. Ok, I really do feel bad for you with the basil allergy :( boo to that. But not boo is these amazingly delicious looking cabbage leaf tacos! YUM to that! And the salsa? YES please, I have two huge bowls of tomatoes I was going to put to use, and this is going to have to be the recipe I do that with!

  2. Has your sister found a commercial gluten-free cake mix that she likes? I worked at an ice cream parlor in college and our cake batter ice cream was 2.5 gallons of ice cream base and one package of cake mix. If your sister is inclined to make ice cream, she could make her own cake batter ice cream.

    • Thanks, Kathryn…but my sister is definitely not the ice-cream making type. She is probably the healthiest eater I know, and giving up gluten only furthered her healthy eating habits. But maybe I’ll make some ice cream with some GF cake mix and give it to her for her birthday (or…eat it myself) – thanks for the cake batter ice cream ratio! So sweet of you to think of my poor cake-batter-icecreamless sister :)

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